All Media is Political

Photo courtesy of Chip Pons


“Stop making everything political.” You’ve probably heard that phrase somewhere on the social media provider of your choice, or the wild west that is YouTube.

While the phrase seems to be part of an almost-valid argument, I assure you that anyone who uses this coward’s warcry is saying it because a mainstream show did something they didn’t like. Sometimes it’s in reference to a visibly LGBTQ+ character, or about how a female character takes charge over men, but generally speaking, the show angered someone somewhere.

Rather than admitting how petty their reasoning for not liking it is, they hide behind the same old catchphrase. But in all reality, almost every piece of media is political, even if the creator tries to claim otherwise.

Politics seems like a far-off beast, one that rears its ugly head every four years as a new wave of power-hungry brown nosers fight for control of one of the largest countries in the world, but its reach goes much further than just a rat race for power. Every person in the U.S. has a political ideology, even if they are not  a Democrat or a Republican.

Their ideology affects them in virtually every moment of their lives: where they shop, what they eat, how they conduct themselves. This stems from both the ideals of their chosen group, and from their perception of other ideologies.

As it affects parts of their life, it also affects how they create things. In every form of media, the ideology of the creator always shapes the finished product. One way to figure out how politics affects your favorite piece of media is by exploring how the themes of that media apply to the real world. Generally speaking, conservative writers put in conservative-leaning messages — and vice-versa for liberal writers.

One of the best examples of a highly political movie is “RoboCop,” a brutal satire focused around the titular RoboCop cleaning up the streets of a futuristic Detroit. The anti-capitalist overtones and dark, biting humor tell a strongly worded story about its creator’s ideology.

Furthermore, it contains strong condemnation of society’s obsession with extreme violence and love of technology over human lives. “RoboCop” is so wildly political, I consider it a major influence on their writing as a whole.

While their main argument was addressed in the beginning of this article, the whiners of the world have another trick up their sleeves: when faced with the knowledge that the media contains messages directly conflicting with their ideology — instead of acknowledging this and recognizing the other side of their opinions — they will repeatedly claim that the media in question is “not politics free.”

A very prevalent example of ignoring a movie’s message is the concept of red-pilling, where someone is converted to the side of the far right.

This turn of phrase was taken from “The Matrix,” which is baffling not only because “The Matrix” is overwhelmingly anti-authority, but also because the directors, the Wachowski sisters, are trans women.

Even worse, the people making media also frequently claim that their creations are “politics-free.” Ninety percent of the time, this excuse is used as a way to avoid alienating a potential audience that would’ve otherwise been driven out by conflicting politics.

Above all else, the general public needs to acknowledge that politics are everywhere, and that this isn’t a bad thing. Our politics are a part of who we are, and trying to hide who we are is never right.

Even beyond the political level, recognizing the themes on display in a piece of media can drastically affect how you feel about it, letting you form your own unique opinion. You can also use this awareness to look back and see how the media you’ve watched shaped who you choose to be — for better and for worse.